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The Litigation Consulting Report

21 Secrets for Using Litigation Consultants on a Tight Budget

Posted by Ken Lopez on Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

litigation consultants tight budget low priceIn Part 1 of this article, we discussed how to use litigation consultants to win a case when there are no budget constraints. Here in Part 2, we tackle the opposite end of the budget spectrum: how to best use litigation consultants when budget is severely constrained.

The good news is that in any case that has more than $1 million at stake or is a possible example of pattern litigation, there is a litigation consulting strategy that can fit the budget and deliver high value, regardless of budget. While every case has different needs, and there is a big difference between bench and jury trials, here is a prescription for utilizing litigation consultants in a tight budget.

The primary cost difference between a small litigation budget and a large litigation budget will be the amount of time spent on testing and varying strategic approaches to the case.  In a tight budget scenario, rather than relying on feedback from mock jurors and judges to help guide which themes to emphasize and the best ways to explain elements of the case, you will likely have to rely heavily on gut instinct. Of course, that is not always a bad thing.

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Looking at the three primary types of services that litigation consultants provide -- trial consulting, litigation graphics and courtroom technology support -- our general recommendation would be to spend your money where you most need to. In the majority of cases, the money is best spent on litigation graphics. A small budget generally rules out meaningful trial or jury consulting.  Further, you can ask your litigation graphics firm to create your graphics primarily in PowerPoint to avoid the need for specialty trial presentation software or personnel.  Here's our specific recipe of do's and don'ts on a limited budget:

  • Don't conduct any formal mock trial work whether online, in person or otherwise
  • Don't use courtroom technology support or hot-seat operators
  • Do use the court's technology when possible
  • Do split technology costs with opposing counsel when possible
  • Do use your own laptop in court with a rented projector and screen if necessary
  • Do bring a 2nd (backup) laptop with a copy of your presentation(s)
  • Do work with highly experienced litigation graphics experts and ask their advice
  • Do expect the highly experienced litigation graphics experts to provide added value by virtue of their extensive litigation graphics previous experiences
  • Do provide a refined list of trial graphics you are hoping to use
  • Do prioritize the trial graphics that are most important
  • Don’t be afraid to hand draw a rough version of any image that you want if you feel so inclined 
  • Do give your graphics firm the latitude to add new graphics that they may come up with, as much as 25 percent more of them (as long as costs were discussed up front)
  • Do insist on a fixed price for the work
  • Do ask your client to consider an alternative fee arrangement with the graphics firm (i.e. contingencies, success fees)
  • Do work with a firm that is highly recommended
  • Do work with a firm that will provide ideas not just pretty pictures
  • Do insist that everything be created in PowerPoint
  • Do insist that all text subject to potential changes is in modifiable form versus pictures of text that requires the litigation graphic provider’s intervention for editing
  • Do update your system to the latest version of PowerPoint
  • Do provide high quality / high resolution documents whenever possible for the litigation artists to use
  • Do prepare an outline for the litigation graphics firm to work from

By following this advice, you will almost certainly get the best results for a relatively small dollar investment.


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Tags: Trial Graphics, Litigation Graphics, Trial Presentation, Jury Consulting, Courtroom Presentations, Trial Consulting, Demonstrative Evidence, Trial Technology, Articles

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Ken Lopez founded A2L Consulting in 1995. The firm has since worked with litigators from all major law firms on more than 10,000 cases with over $2 trillion cumulatively at stake.  The A2L team is comprised of psychologists, jury consultants, trial consultants, litigation consultants, attorneys and information designers who provide jury consulting, litigation graphics and trial technology.  Ken Lopez can be reached at lopez@A2LC.com.


Tony Klapper joined A2L Consulting after accumulating 20 years of litigation experience while a partner at both Reed Smith and Kirkland & Ellis. Today, he is the Managing Director of Litigation Consulting and General Counsel for A2L Consulting. Tony has significant litigation experience in products liability, toxic tort, employment, financial services, government contract, insurance, and other commercial disputes.  In those matters, he has almost always been the point person for demonstrative evidence and narrative development on his trial teams. Tony can be reached at klapper@a2lc.com.

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Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D., Managing Director, Trial & Jury Consulting, has conducted over 400 mock trials in more than 1,000 litigation engagements over the past 20 years. Dr. Kuslansky's goal is to provide the highest level of personalized client service possible whether one's need involves a mock trial, witness preparation, jury selection or a mock exercise not involving a jury. Dr. Kuslansky can be reached at kuslansky@A2LC.com.

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